Monday, February 21, 2005

On strike!

Since a big part of this blog will be rambling and complaining about Egypt and Egyptians (out of dissapointment not animosity), I figured I should balance my blog a bit, and find a new country and different people to complain about for a change. No, I won't complain about America, that's an easy target, and the trouble with America is so obvious to everyone. I'll pick on some of the kindest people around, Canadians.

I really admire Canada in many different ways (one just wishes they could be less dependant on the U.S.). In many ways, Canada is what Egypt is not (I should talk more about that in another post). What I really find amusing over there is the amount of strikes they have. Can you imagine the power the labor unions have there. So many unions have gone on strike --sometimes for months--, its just crazy. Here's a count of some of the important strikes I know of; Garbage collectors go on strike for a couple of weeks that cities start to stink. Mailmen go on strike across Canada for two weeks disturbing a valuable communication medium over there. Numerous Teaching Assistant strikes putting university life to a halt causing delays in classes and exams, pushing semesters and wasting the students money. Nurses going on strike for weeks, leaving hospitals vacant of "mercy angels". Bus drivers going on strike for 4 months, leaving people with no alternatives but buying cars or taking cabs 20 times the cost of a bus ride. And now, the hockey season is cancelled because of a labor dispute (why are Hockey players called labor?!).

Really amusing. Hockey players who get paid millions go on strike (or are locked out) because they don't want the NHL to put a team salary cap of $42.5 million! resulting in the cancellation of the season all together. And we say that football in Egypt is screwed up!

I might be looking at this very superficially, but this sounds really silly to me. What's not silly however, and sounds very serious are all those other critical laborers going on strike for weeks. What's with nurses going on strike, bus drivers, TAs shutting down universities! Is that really reasonable. Ok, they are granted a power that they are utilizing, but I think unreasonably so. That's too much power to be granted. Can you imagine a city functioning without public transportation for 4 months, or without nurses, or with the trash left in the streets. Shouldn't there be a better way to handle those labor disputes? I think those labor unions become pretty unreasonable knowing that they mostly have the upper hand. In some provinces, the employer can't even replace the workers on strike.

In Egypt, it is against the law to go on strike. If a bunch of factory workers go on strike they are all arrested for threatening the state security. That's another extreme (but we're not talking about Egypt here ;)

I won't even try to compare the Egyptian worker to the Canadian worker. That's so extreme a comparison, but I'll just say this: I'm sad at the state of the Egyptian worker. The Egyptian worker is probably the least productive in the world, but still, I'm sad at the state of the Egyptian worker.

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